One Dharma: The Emerging Western Buddhism

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9780062517005: One Dharma: The Emerging Western Buddhism

We are living in remarkable times. A genuine Western Buddhism is now taking birth, writes Joseph Goldstein, one of America's most respected Buddhist teachers. The birth pangs include controversy and conflict -- and fear that genuine teachings may vanish as traditions converge in the melting pot of American practice. But Goldstein recognizes a possibility, indeed a at potential, for the essence of Buddhism to survive on Western soil, in Western minds.

His visionary synthesis points a way for Buddhism to grow and flower while remaining rooted in the teachings of the great Asian schools -- from India and Burma to Tibet and Japan. Marked by a simplicity derived from the Buddha's own pragmatic response to life, Goldstein distills the essential question that is at the base of all the traditions: What works to free the mind from suffering?

He provides a brief historical overview of early Buddhism and explores the mind-changing reflections that bring us to the Dharma path -- the teachings of liberation, free from sectarian attachments. Upon this foundation Goldstein then shows how the great masters from all traditions have pointed to the essence of ultimate freedom. This is the best kind of Dharma book: one that is based on personal experience rather than on theory, accessible to newcomers and seasoned practitioners alike, and rich in practical ways to cultivate the qualities of an awakened mind and heart.

In One Dharma one of America's foremost Buddhist teachers presents the central teachings and practices of the emerging Western Buddhism in clear, personal language. In One Dharma we discover the essential points common to all Buddhist teachings.

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Review:

Insight Meditation cofounder Joseph Goldstein ponders the possibility that all Buddhist teachings could be distilled into One Dharma. As Buddhism continues to grow in the West, Goldstein shows us the value of uniting this movement rather than allowing it to become fractured by its subtle differences. He does not advocate a watering down or mixing up of the various traditions. Rather, "We can practice each of them in its own integrity and come to a genuine depth of understanding." Readers who are wary of a scholarly analysis of Buddhist nuances need not worry. Goldstein (The Experience of Insight) relies on personal anecdotes and accessible language to explore the common themes in all Buddhist teachings. Though purists will no doubt quibble, Goldstein believes that following one Dharma is the way the West will be won, weaving together the methods of mindfulness, the motivation of compassion, and the liberating wisdom of nonclinging. "These three pillars--mindfulness, compassion, and wisdom--are not Indian or Burmese, Japanese or Tibetan; they are qualities in our own minds." --Gail Hudson

About the Author:

Joseph Goldstein is a cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, where he is one of the resident guiding teachers. He is the author of The Experience of Insight and Insight Meditation and has coauthored books with both Sharon Salzberg and Jack Kornfield. He has studied and practiced meditation since 1967 under the guidance of eminent teachers from India, Burma, and Tibet. He lectures and leads retreats around the world.

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